I’VE got to say I’m a little hesitant to write this review. Not because it’s going to be packed with adverse comments and I’m worried the impact they might have on the business. Oh no, quite the reverse.

For you see, the subject of this week’s visit is a real hidden treasure and part of me would just like to keep it a secret to myself and to those of us ‘in the know’.

But that’s not really the point of this column. So Cafe by the River, I salute you.

Where? I hear you ask. Again, it’s almost as though the venue itself is trying to remain a secret. It’s part of Read Garden Centre which in turn isn’t anywhere near Read but instead is nearer to Great Harwood. Simply finding the place requires you to keep our eyes open as you head towards Whalley.

The largely unpaved road will test your suspension but it’s worth the bumpy ride.

You get to the cafe through the garden centre and there are various indoor seating areas with a mixture of furniture styles creating a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.

The cafe is in a fabulous spot and makes the most of it with a large outdoor terrace overlooking the River Calder which as the weather gets better is going to become a prime location. You could be in another world miles from anywhere when in fact the A680 is but a couple of hundred yards away

But attractive surroundings are all well and good; a cafe ultimately stands and falls on the quality of its food.

Specials boards behind the counter offer a plentiful choice in addition to the regular menu. Whether it’s just a coffee and a home-made cake or a full meal, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice.

One of the Cafe by the River’s specialities is its pies – freshly made on the premises every day. On the day we visited four different pies had been available – I say had been because if you arrive too late in the day, you’ll find that they are quite likely to have been snapped up.

But you could always buy one to take home from the large cabinet by the till, filled with tempting goodies with which to pack your freezer.

The plate meat pie came with a selection of veg, chunky chips and a separate jug of gravy – a fine idea as no two people’s gravy requirements are ever the same.

The pastry was light and the pie itself packed with flavour (so I’m told, I wasn’t allowed near it).

I opted for the chicken burger which at £6.75 seemed to be extremely reasonably priced. Burgers can always be a bit of a hit or miss affair but I needn’t have worried. Served with a fresh, floured bun it was a tender chicken breast with a crunchy coating and packed with flavour.

A large helping of coleslaw and portion of salad plus a bowl of chunky chips completed the plateful. The chips were particularly impressive and could easily have doubled as the tastiest Jenga pieces ever.

There was a tempting array of puddings and cakes available but for once, I was too full to contemplate them – maybe next time.

A word too about the service which was so friendly. You can see why the place has so many regular customers, it’s like a home from home.

So, much as I’d like you to not seek out the Cafe by the River and keep it a secret, I suspect the damage is done. That’s the problem with quality, it always rises to the top.